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How likely are you to die from Covid-19? This AI tool gives eerily accurate estimate

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The first vaccine may have been administered, but the threat of the disease still remains as real as early on this year.

Even as businesses and shops open up, the threat still remains as real as ever – and now a somewhat morbid tool will let you calculate how likely you are to die if you catch Covid-19.

 

Researchers, including one of Indian-origin, have developed a new online calculator for estimating the individual and community-level risk of dying from Covid-19.

The study, published in the journal Nature Medicine, revealed that the calculator will be useful to public health authorities for assessing mortality risks in different communities, and for prioritizing certain groups for vaccination as Covid-19 vaccines become available.

The algorithm underlying the calculator uses information from existing large studies to estimate risk of Covid-19 mortality for individuals based on age, gender, sociodemographic factors and a variety of different health conditions.

The risk estimates apply to individuals in the general population who are currently uninfected and captures factors associated with both risks of future infection and complications after infection.

“Our calculator represents a more quantitative approach and should complement other proposed qualitative guidelines for determining individual and community risks and allocating vaccines,” said study senior author Nilanjan Chatterjee from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in the US.

The calculator based on the model is available online for public health officials and interested individuals alike.
It enables a user to determine individual risk based on factors such as age, sex, race/ethnicity, and medical history and can be used to define risk for a group, such as for a particular community, corporation, or university, based on the mix of relevant factors that define the group.

In their paper, the research team used their calculator to describe the risk distribution for the whole US population, showing, for example, that only about 4% of the population at high risk — defined as five times greater risk than the US average — is expected to contribute close to 50% of the total deaths.

The researchers also showed that population-level risk varies considerably from city to city and county to county.
“For example, the percentage of the adult population exceeding the fivefold risk threshold varies from 0.4% in Layton, Utah, to 10.7% in Detroit, Michigan,” Chatterjee said.

The calculator allows users to calculate the mortality risk of individuals by combining information on individual-level factors with community-level pandemic dynamics, as available from a large variety of forecasting models.
Thus, when a big wave of infections hits a population, the risk estimates for individuals will rise in that community.

Currently, the tool is updated on a weekly basis to incorporate information on state-level pandemic dynamics.
That’s not the only tool estimating your Covid-19 risk. Earlier, in November, a tool allowed people to assess the risk of attending gatherings where they live using real-time infection data.

If you were to find yourself in a group of ten people in the US capital Washington today, the risk that one person has Covid-19 would be 18 percent. The equivalent figure in Paris is 32 percent.

It estimates the probability that at least one Covid-19 positive person will be present at a given event in a given district or county, after the user inputs the size of the gathering using a slide tool.